Tag Archives: Ganga

Splendid, Spiritual & Musical Gangaji Maha Aarti, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

I would certainly like to visit, revisit & revisit the breathtakingly beautiful RISHIKESH, the religious abode of Himalayas, Ganga, Sadhus, Temples, Ghats, Truly religious and humble people, Maha aarti, Friendly Langoors, Ashrams, Yoga Centres, Adventure seekers, Students and Foreigners!

Read on to know, what all mesmerized me (A hardcore Urban Soul) in Rishikesh!

Our all of a sudden decision to visit Dehradun turned out to be a religious trip too, when as per plan on third day of our stay in Dehradun, we left for Rishikesh. We were super excited about visiting Rishikesh, particularly me as I had visited Rishikesh many years ago and had very feeble memories of the place. For the first time, I decided to move out of our comfort zone (read: hiring AC Cab) for our travel and decided to board State transport bus for Rishikesh from ISBT, Dehradun. It was a well-thought decision as I wanted to know how locals travel, think and behave in Uttarakhand. Believe me, my purpose was not defeated as I could see many college students, women and Government servants accompanying us on this ride. I wanted to touch the pulse of the people of UK who had voted so heavily in favour of BJP. People are happy about BJP rule and accepted that there was “Modi Wave” in the State. They accepted that since BJP is diligently moving on developmental agenda as many highways, flyovers, connecting roads in the vicinity witnessed fierce activity. But yes, to promote tourism in this naturally beautiful State, public transport needs to pull up its socks and provide better amenities to tourists. Buses are just the same as they were 50 years ago, AC buses need to be introduced with better access, but roads are better than any of the States in India. Believe me; it is not easy to make roads in the hilly terrain…

Hotel, where we were staying, owner told us that road work enroute Badrinath is on, so there is limited supply of electricity in the area. People are happy that their visit to the Shrine will be easier and happier now. & voila, next morning when I stepped out to enjoy the breeze across Ganga, I was surprised rather delighted to see, road nicely built on the route till where my vision could accompany me. This is good administration and governance, no wonder; Nitin Gadkari is the top choice for this coveted job. I am sure; Uttarakhand will be a changed State when I visit next.

Evening turned out as we had planned, we boarded Vikram (local means of transport) for Triveni Ghats from Laxman Jhula for the evening “Maha Aarti” which was truly Maha Aarti in letter & spirit. Believe me I had never seen anything so splendid, religious, musical & sentimental on any of my sojourns. Ghats were decked up nicely for all of us to sit and watch aarti comfortably where many foreigners too were awaiting keenly before we reached. The stage was set for aarti which started at 6:30 Sharp with the chanting of Ganga Aarti by Singers/ Pandits sitting on stage, before that Hanuman Chalisa was rendered. It was first day of auspicious Navratri so Vaishno Mata Mandir was decked up to the hilt with many pilgrims paying obeisance to the Goddess of Power.

I came to know that this Maha Aarti is major Tourist attraction taking place at this ghat.

This aarti is accompanied by chantings of bhajan, beating drums, bells and big diyas lighted all over the place. The devotees release small oil lamps placed on leaf boats in the water. These lamps float down the river and provide a beautiful view.

Ceremonies like “Pindha Shraddha” are also done at Triveni Ghat, which my husband Mukund also undertook for his recently demised father, late Shri Jamnadas Vaghela. We believe that we tearfully sent him on his final journey. The main Panditji performed this ritual for our forefather – our beloved “Pappa”.

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Triveni Ghat is the confluence of three holy important Rivers in Ganges, the Yamuna and Saraswathy which is most revered sacred bathing spot in Rishikesh and is situated on the banks of Ganges River.

It is a belief that holy dip here washes away all the ties and purifies the soul and will have salvation, a relief from sins carried out; the water has the power to purify them. It is very soothing to sit on the banks of the river and enjoy the cool breeze with many sentiments at a time at play.

Devotees make many offerings at Triveni Ghat; in the early morning at sunrise they offer milk to the river and happily feed the fishes in the Triveni Ghat.

Visit undertaken on March 28, 2017.


Gangaji ki Aarti on Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar!

Mesmerizing, enchanting, lingering experience…
…Visit once for the entire soulful experience!

As goes the name – Haridwar, it is indeed Hari ka dwaar where you enter to meet the divinity in its full glory. So much so that even Haridwar station is made in the shape of a temple. Quite excited to be in Haridwar, we reached there on the afternoon of April 29, 2015 from Dehradun, to be welcomed by courteous staff of Hotel Chitra Heritage, located close to station. After having lunch in the hotel room and a quick nap and a quicker shower we got ready for the evening Aarti at Har-ki-Pauri. My husband Mukund and daughter Tanya, having absolutely no clue how Har-ki-Pauri looked like, they were quite fascinated to catch the first glimpse of green and clean Ganga from the bridge. Ghat surrounded by small – time sellers selling diyas, flowers, garlands, toys, Ganga Jal Cans, Bangles, Sindoor what not delighted Tanya even more. She wanted to check stuff with every seller and found everything quite cheap.

Moreover, the song playing in the backdrop – Ganga Maiyya mein jab tak ke paani rahe, mere sajna teri zindgani rahe…added to the aura of Gangaji. After faced paced, highly commercialized life of Mumbai, religious Haridwar was quite a change. With temples all around us, we were in for a religious sojourn. My daughter a true-blue Mumbaikar, young & modern teenager was too delighted to be there, to my utter surprise. Gangaji at Har-ki-Pauri is quite clean but could have been cleaner. I think people are lending ears to Modiji’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan…

Enjoy the Photo-Essay:

We moved towards Clock Tower which is closer to Ghat where Aarti was to be performed. When we reached around 6:15 PM it was moderately crowded but as 15-20 minutes passed, huge crowds gathered on the Malviya ghat. We were seated on the opposite side of temple where Aarti was to be performed. We had a clear view of the temple ghat and were quite happy about it. Aarti started at sharp 7 PM, and what an experience it turned out to be! Absolutely divine. Lanterns flowing in Gangaji and several Pandits performing Aarti with life size diyas, it was a sight to remember. I am still finding it difficult to get over it…just mesmerizing! I felt one with divinity – the Supreme power, huge crowds totally immersed in Aarti!

Now a little backdrop of the Aarti – Each evening as the sun’s last rays reflect off the boundless waters of Mother Ganga, people gather for Ganga Aarti at Har-Ki-Pauri. This divine light ceremony is filled with song, prayer, ritual and a palpable sense of the divine. Aarti is the beautiful ceremony in which diyas (oil lamps) are offered to God. Aarti is being done to the deity in the Gangaji temple, and simultaneously on the banks of the Ganges to Mother Ganga.
Ganga Aarti Hardwar is performed at Har-ki-Pauri Ghat. Har Ki Pauri is one of the most famous place to take holy dip in the river Ganga. Ganga Aarti means prayer for the River Ganga. Aarti is an ancient Hindu ritual offered to Gods, holy things, spiritual leaders or to the guests. Aarti word is from the Sanskrit language which means remover of darkness (ignorance). Aarti is performed at the Har Ki Pauri Ghat which is built in 1st century by King Vikram. Bhratuhari was brother of King Vikram who meditated here for Lord Vishnu and Lord Vishnu appeared here to give him blessing. That is why the place named Har Ki Pauri (Foot Prints of God). This is also the same place where drop of nector fell down and that is why it is also prime attraction in Kumbh Mela Festival in Haridwar.

Ganga is not only a river. She is truly a Divine Mother. She rushes forth from the Himalayas as the giver of life, carrying purity, bliss and liberation in Her waters. Ganga is not only water. She is nectar – the nectar of life, the nectar of liberation. She is a source of inspiration to all who lay eyes on her ceaseless, boundless, rushing current. She irrigates not only our farms, but also our hearts, minds and souls. She is the Mother Goddess – giving freely to all with no discrimination, hesitation or expectation. Her waters purify all who bathe in them, all who drink from them. In fact, She is the remover of contamination.
The essence of the aarti ceremony is that all day long God offers us light – the light of the sun, the light of life, and the light of His (Her) blessings. Aarti is a time when we say, “Thank You,” and we offer back the light of our thanks, the light of our love and the light of our devotion.

Aarti in full splendour:

Ganga Aarti is organized twice a day every evening – Morning at sunrise and evening at sunset. Timing is different in summer and winter according to sunset and sunrise timings. Evening Ganga Aarti is more famous. Ganga Aarti has two parts. First part is offering to the river ganga to get blessing. Offerings are done with backgrounds of live chants in Sanskrit language. After short break of 5 mins after offering the second part starts which is Hindi Song for River Ganga. The preist also light the Big Diyas (Multile wicks are soaked in Ghee and the holder is made from copper) during this song. These diyas are waved in clock wise direction towards River Ganga.

We were really lucky that inspite of being late, everything fell into place for us, we got the right place to view so that we could view the Aarti in its full glory and splendor. Luckily the place was not that crowded too. After Aarti, we performed deep daan in Gangaji for our ancestors.

But yes, there are few lessons to be taken like you should reach little early to get the complete view of the ceremony. Avoid giving donations to the so called volunteers, instead you should give donations to Ganga Sabha so that it is utilized for the right purpose.
What is life without few learnings every now and then…